The American Psychiatric Association Classifies Caffeine Withdrawal As a Mental Disorder

In its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the American Psychiatric Association provides healthcare professionals and researchers with standardized criteria for the classification of mental disorders. If you’ve ever gone through the agony of giving up caffeine, you’ll likely understand why they list “Caffeine Withdrawal” as a mental disorder. In the manual, caffeine withdrawal is defined as a syndrome resulting from abrupt cessation or reduction in caffeine, following prolonged daily use. However, research suggests that only a subset of the population of caffeine consumers suffers withdrawal symptoms — headache, reduced alertness and drowsiness — following sudden cessation. In these cases, symptoms begin about 12-24 hours after cessation and reach a peak after 20-48 hours. Importantly, these symptoms can be avoided altogether if caffeine intake is decreased progressively, rather than by the “cold turkey” method. If giving up coffee is a mental disorder, giving up chocolate will likely land you in a mental institution.